What has Jones P. Madeira done for journalism in Trinidad and Tobago?
Ask the majority of journalists, active and retired and see what they would say.
Lady Luck is on Madeira’s side as he has been awarded the Chaconia (Gold) Medal for 2018.
Can anyone single out one article or one story which stands out as one of Madeira’s top products? None, many would say.
His good friend, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, as chairman of the National Awards Committee, has ensured that the aging journalist gets on the list of awardees for 2018.
Imagine Madeira is getting the award for “long and meritorious service to Trinidad and Tobago.”
So what has been Madeira’s claim to fame?
He was broadcast journalist on TTT. Everyone will remember he was one of the hostages at TTT during the 1990 attempted coup. He was quoted in the media on Monday as saying he held the hostages together at the time of the crisis.
But the insurgents have a different version and they have been consistent over the years. Madeira was the most frightened of the hostages. Like Raoul Pantin, Madeira never recovered from those wounds.
He and then moved to Radio Trinidad when the Ansa Mc Al Group wanted to boost that station with experienced broadcast journalists.
In 1993, when Ansa McAl decided to ‘retire’ Therese Mills as the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, they brought in Madeira. Chalk and Cheese! Well, Madeira ran into problems in early 1996 when then Prime Minister Basdeo Panday had issues with Madeira at the Guardian.
Madeira was able to get most of the other editors to line up behind him and walk off the job. They included Maxie Cuffie and Sunity Maharaj. The Guardian was never the same again after that infamous walkout.
Madeira and the crew went and formed the weekly, the Independent, but that did not last long as the Red House fire.
With no where to turn in the media, Madeira opted to turn to corporate communications and soon then Prime Minister Patrick Manning gave him a bligh in the Ministry of Health.
When Manning decided to close TTT in 2005, Madeira became one of the directors of the new CNMG. Ironically, it was the same Madeira who gave advice to close CNMG and revert to TTT.
Then came his biggest chance. When Archie became Chief Justice, Madeira soon became Manager, Protocol and Information, although he was clueless on protocol matters. Nothing improved in the Judiciary.
When Therese Mills died in 2014, Newsday saw Madeira as the saviour. But very soon, management realized that Madeira was not the answer so they went for Judy Raymond.
JONES P. MADEIRA